Greece: Business Mentees Take Bold Next Step
“You woke us up from dreaming about success and helped us … take real actions,” said Athina, a small-business owner participating in IOCC’s business-mentoring program in Athens, Greece.
Through IOCC and Apostoli’s collaboration with the executives of Kemel, a Greek nonprofit dedicated to supporting businesses, Greek microenterprises are being mentored to boost productivity and profitability.
Mentees have now completed their first business plans. Volunteer mentors have helped assess what each business can do and where they have room to grow: some mentees will need marketing guidance, while others are ready to expand sales to other European countries.
A crucial lesson for these entrepreneurs is that they can’t increase sales by focusing on quality alone. One business was unable to keep up with increasing orders because the company didn’t have the appropriate equipment and struggled with prioritizing. Through the IOCC project, the owners received a new machine, plus mentoring that encouraged them to commit to a larger premises where they can grow their production capacity.
“For the first time I don’t feel I am alone in this,” said mentee Vasilis. “I feel confident [enough] to disengage myself from the production process and [concentrate on] implementing my business plan and promoting my company.”